Heat Got Your Tongue? (Help on taming the tongue from Karen Ehman…)

Friends!  With the exception of last Saturday’s cool temps and low humidity, we’ve been HOT and HUMID here in the Bluegrass State since before the first day of summer.  I don’t know about you, but heat is not my friend.  I get tired, and cranky, and my tongue gets me into trouble.

Notice I’m blaming my tongue, not my heart—where the words bubble up out of in the first place. Anyone else?

I discovered a super helpful book around Christmas season of 2016, called Keep it Shut:  What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman.  I dubbed it the “Perfect Handbook for the Christmas Season.”  Click here to read more.

Sadly, like most things, I loved it, but promptly forgot about it until….my friend, Sue, in South Carolina told me about a devotional she was reading, Zip It:  The Keep it Shut 40-Day Challenge, yes, by Karen Ehman! I ordered it immediately.

This little book packs a powerful punch.  It’s just what the doctor ordered for a quick, fast, booster shot to TRAP YOUR TONGUE. It piggybacks off of Karen’s Keep it Shut book. She tell us that on our 40-day journey together,

Each of the forty devotionals are divided into four parts:

1 – The devotional itself, always introduced by a pertinent Scripture,

2 – “Today’s Takeaways” – great ideas to apply to our lives,

3 – “Lesson for the Lips” – thought-provoking questions to get you moving in the direction of the takeaways, and

4 – A closing prayer.  

One of my favorites is from entry 7, “Your Heart Thoughts are Louder than you Realize.” From several points in Scripture, Karen shows us Jesus knows our thoughts before they’re ever spoken.  She says,

“Jesus hears the words of your heart.

Jesus hears the words you speak to others.

Jesus hears the words you say to yourself.”

Here’s where things get interesting.  In “Today’s Takeaways,” Karen says, Keep a clean “word-robe.” Likening our heart and mind to a closet, Karen asks, “What kind of “word-robe” do you have hanging in there?

Think on that question a minute.

She suggests, “Keep it clean, fresh, and full of His promises!”

How’s that for a wonderful word picture?  That’s stuck with me throughout the entire reading of this book.  It smacks me daily, too, as John and I’ve just had our closets re-done.  Neat and orderly is now their potential, however, should the closet police visit unexpectedly, dirty laundry, spare hangers, and stray tennis shoes could possibly  be discovered…

Let’s close with Karen’s beautiful prayer:

Friends, these highlights are just from one of the forty devotionals Karen blesses us with.  Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this book!  It would make a great gift for your friends too!

Huge thanks to Karen Ehman for being bold and honest enough to share her experiences with us.  These are ones we can all relate to, laugh about, and learn from.

Once you read this book, let me know which ones are your favorites.  Two others that made me howl while simultaneously stepping on my toes (but in a good way) are:  “That time I spied ugly in the mirror,” and “But you don’t know my family.”  I’m telling you, they’re for all of us!

‘Til next time!

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When Your Proficient Procrastination Backfires… (Part 2 of 2) PLUS FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Friends!  Thanks to all of you who commented on last week’s post. (If you missed this uncanny story, click here) Many of you are jumping in with Liz, Nancy and me on our one-year journey!

There are a couple more pieces I’d like to show you. I discovered numerous methods of Bible study taught by Carole Mayhall in her book, Come Walk with Me:  A Woman’s Personal Guide to Knowing God and Mentoring Others

One method I tried this Spring was super simple and kept my face in the Word once our Bible study group adjourned until fall. Carole suggests we readers take Psalm 119 (Yes, it’s the longest psalm in the Bible!) and read just eight verses per day.

When you look at the text, you’ll notice there’s a word at the beginning of each section of eight verses.  These twenty-two sections correspond to a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

What began to convict me about this exercise, is of the 176 verses, only 5 do not mention God’s Word.  It uses words such as “statutes”, “law”, “decrees”, “precepts”, “commands” referring to God’s Word.  The conviction came with phrases like,

“I delight in your decrees,”

“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches,”

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

“My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.”

“I hold fast to your statues, Lord;”

“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.”

I confessed to both Liz and Nancy that while I love doing Bible study, it never occurred to me I should delight over His Word, as in each and every word. I believe this conviction came in a timely fashion to prepare me to finally agree to read the Bible thru’ in a year.

Yet one more book was discovered from researching author Pam Gillaspie. (She’s who authored the book, No More Excuses! An Almost Too-practical Guide to Reading Through Your BibleIt’s the one I found right after I’d found my Mother’s One Year Bible.)

Via Amazon, I discovered Pam has written a number of Bible studies and this is the one that made me gasp yet againSweeter than Chocolate! Sweet Words and Real Solutions from God’s Book (a Flexible Inductive Study of Psalm 119)

I gasped for two reasons:

1 – Clearly I’d met my match in chocoholic aficionados, and

2 – This gal is obviously talented and smart to have written so many Bible studies (see below) AND to be published by Precepts Ministries, AND one of them is on Psalm 119!

I quickly ordered Pam’s study on Psalm 119 because I enjoyed doing Carole’s exercise and felt the need to review it.  Pam’s workbook is very thorough and I love its layout.

I believe the Lord shows us His sense of humor from time to time and this is a perfect example to couple the study with chocolate. Pam goes so far as to suggest grabbing a piece of chocolate before diving in.  Ever obedient, I did as I was told. Smile.

Finally, let’s return to Liz and Nancy and me INVITING YOU TO JOIN US in reading The One Year Bible.  Here are TWO more reasons you may wish to prayerfully consider reading thru’ the whole Bible:

1 – Carole Mayhall says, “I wanted to become familiar with the entire Bible because I didn’t like to think of getting to heaven and having Micah ask how I liked his book and having to confess I hadn’t read it! (Well, that was just one reason.) To absorb the whole scope of Scripture, I needed to know the entire panorama of God’s activity throughout history.”

Wow! Imagine if we’d never read letters written by Paul, or King David, or King Solomon, or Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, or James, just to name a few? We wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings, would we? (Plus 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us all Sripture is God-breathed.)

2- Who can argue with Charles Spurgeon? He said, “Many books in my library are now behind and beneath me. They were good in their way once, and so were the clothes I wore when I was ten years old; but I have outgrown them. NOBODY ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” Amen.

Don’t forget, if you comment, “I’m in!”, your name will be entered in a drawing to win the exact same Bible we’re reading. We’ve already had several of you from last week take the plunge.  Bravo! (I’ll draw from the names and let you know next week, giving y’all a few more days to comment.)

‘Til next time!

P.S.  One of the comments I received last week was from my cute little friend, Trish Roberts.  (Those of you who know her are nodding.) Trish taught me about an interesting looking Bible called The Wayfinding Bible. (No, I’ve not ordered it. Yet.)

Check it out as it’s got many different options for navigating thru’ the Bible. Oh, and it’s in the NLT too! Trish said she and Eddie have it downloaded on their phones for when they travel.  More great ideas!

SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME…

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When Your Proficient Procrastination Backfires… (Part 1 of 2) plus FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Friends! Any procrastinators out there? I thought I was at a professional, proficient level until three recent occurrences taught me otherwise…

I’ve been a practicing procrastinator since college. (Scary math:  thirty-six years ago. Oh my.) Pulling all-nighters, accompanied by more than one human’s caffeine quota should allow, I scrambled thru’ four years of college with so-so passing grades.

This past April, a new friend of John’s sent him a One Year Bible published by the folks at Walk Through the Bible, called The Daily Walk Bible:  Explore God’s Path to Life. This Bible is in the New International Version. Ever the optimist, John jumped in regardless of the fact that January was way in the past.

I have several friends who’ve read thru’ the Bible in a year’s time, some more than once. I confess I’ve successfully avoided  it until now. Plus, I concluded that if, and that’s a big IF I were to attempt such, I’d much prefer to read it in the New Living Translation.

I toted John’s new Bible with me when I visited Liz Curtis Higgs one day, showing it to her.  I was relieved to discover she was in the same boat as me, not having bitten the bullet to take on such a project.  She was also in agreement that if she did jump in, she, too, would prefer the New Living Translation.

Fast forward to Mother’s Day weekend.  Gordy and Lauren were in town and the one request I uttered was for Gordy to go thru’ his college “stuff”, still in his old room. (Trying to be tactful here.)

The piles stressed me out every time I walked by his room. (He might have a few procrastinator skills in him too given he’s been out of college six years.)

Mission accomplished, all he left for me to go thru’ was a pile of books. Later that day, I divvied them up into books to be taken to the Christian Book Nook (They’re at 2116 S. Preston St. in Louisville.), while the others will be donated to the Little Free Libraries in town.

When I reached the bottom of the pile, one super thick book stopped me in my tracks.  Get ready for this: It was The One Year Bible.  Guess which version?  Oh yes, it was in the New Living Translation.

Having no recollection of having bought this book, I opened the first page. There, in my Mother’s handwriting, was her name:  Anita Mills. I nearly dropped it like a hot potato.

I dashed down the stairs to show John.  He said, “Wow, now what are you going to do?”

“Well,” I hesitated, “I may start in 2019.”

Now on a roll of decluttering, I made one more round of checking for books to donate or sell, stopping in Woody’s old room. I found a few to clear out the shelves, stopping at a thin, purple, paperback book.  This time I gasped when I read the cover:  No More Excuses! An almost too-practical guide to reading through your Bible—Especially for Women by Pam Gillaspie.

“What?” I hollered out loud, now rushing down the stairs again to show John. We then opened the title page, and Pam, the author, had signed the book for me, see below:

I have zero recollection of this book, either, much less how these books have been in our house for nearly eight years without my knowing about them.  Either my Mom is shouting down from Heaven to me, or the Lord is saying, “It is time you read my Word ALL THE WAY THROUGH.”

John grinned and said, “NOW what are you going to do?”

To which I’m ashamed to say, I replied, “I’ll think about it.” (CAN YOU SAY, “STUBBORN-AS-A-MULE?”)

The following day I drove to Lexington as I was meeting my buddy, Nancy Sleeth, to walk and have lunch.  I toted the two books to show her and find out if she’d read thru’ the Bible before.

She’s done so nearly every year (of course she has), however this year she had not, being busy with editing Matthew’s new book.  She quickly offered, “You know, I’ve really missed my daily readings.  My One Year Bible is EXACTLY LIKE YOURS!”

Before I could comment, she said, “Let’s do this together!  I’m ready to jump back in!”

Now what do you say to that? I stammered, “Uh, well, ok…when do you want to start?  July 1st?” (We were at the end of May by this time.)

“Nope,” Nancy said quite matter of factly, followed by a declaration:  “Let’s start June 1st!” I had no argument left in me…

Matthew prayed a commissioning prayer over both of us, reminding us God’s grace will cover us when we miss a day here and there.  Is God in the details or what?

Not wanting Liz to feel left out (!!!), I decided she needed a Bible just like Nancy’s and mine.  Dubbing it an “early birthday gift”, I told her the story and invited her to join Nancy and me.

God bless her, Liz jumped in head first, joining us on the Summer Solstice, and so, now we are three. (Fun sidebar: The day we celebrated her bday early, Liz and I went and had our nails done. Don’t hers look beautiful in the below pic? And an even better sidebar: CND Nails gives the best pedicures EVER in their 26 new chairs. Call (502)894-4445 if you live in or near Louisville. You’ll never leave the chair!) Back to our new mission…

Friends, there’s NOTHING like accountability. I’d LOVE for you to jump in with us, with whatever version you prefer. 

Comment “Count me in!” if you’d like to join Liz, Nancy and me. Your name will go into a drawing over the next two weeks (more to this story next week). One lucky person will win a copy of the same One Year Bible we’re reading.

Pray about it. I’ll give you more reasons for jumping in with us next week.

’Til next time!

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Terrific Tidbits From This Year’s Triple Crown Winner…

Friends!  How exciting was this year’s Belmont Stakes with Kentucky’s newest star horse, Justify?  Already victorious in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, suspense built all the way up to June 9th’s last leg of the Triple Crown, finding millions of us glued to the television not to mention those in attendance at the race, all of our hearts pounding…

Much to our delight, Justify and his jockey, Mike Smith, pulled it off for the win.  PLUS Justify was the second horse for trainer, Bob Baffert, to win the Triple Crown since 2015. (American Pharaoh)

I was thrilled to discover Eric Metaxas invited Elliott Walden into his studio on Monday, June 11th for the first hour of the show. (www.metaxastalk.com ). Elliott is the current President, CEO, and Racing Manager at WinStar Farms in Versailles, Kentucky. (www.winstarfarm.com )

Also, in the studio was Lisa Troutt, wife of WinStar Farm’s owner, Kenny Troutt.

We’ve been blessed to know Elliott over the years when his boys and our youngest son, Woody, played football together at Christian Academy. Fast forward a few years and my John got to be with Elliott again. They were two of ten men Bob Russell spearheaded to attend the first Businessmen’s Retreat at Country Lake Christian Retreat Center in Indiana.  (www.bobrussell.org ) Bob’s hosted three so far, and they’re planning on more.

Bob’s been mentoring young pastors from all over the country, teaching monthly retreats for several years since he retired from Southeast Christian Church. He also wanted to do the same for Christian men in the marketplace.

My John maintains their experience was worth a small fortune.  Bob brought in successful business entrepreneurs  and other ministers to share some of their insight as part of the program. Since their gathering, Elliott often sends out devotions he crafts, always centering around a Scripture verse to share with their fellow attendees.

In the radio interview, Eric begins talking with Elliott, sharing how he and his wife, Suzanne, enjoyed the race immensely. When he heard jockey  Mike Smith give all the Glory to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Eric shouted out a huge “Hallelujah!”

He continues by saying, “I’m a Jesus freak.” To which Elliott says, “So am I.”

Eric said, “I know that.” Christian fellowship at its finest, live on the air!

Elliott proceeds to show how Mike Smith truly walks the walk in his faith, always exalting the Lord and not himself. You’ll learn some jaw dropping tidbits throughout the interview PLUS you’ll get to hear from Mike Smith as well.  Learning of Mike’s faith and witness is heartwarming. What an encouragement to all of us!

A few examples you’ll want to listen for:

How long was Elliott a horse trainer before he got the opportunity to work for WinStar?
Who names these horses?
How do they come up with the names? (This part is fascinating.)
How much does Justify weigh?
How much does Mike Smith weigh? (Aren’t we glad we’re not all jockeys who have to STEP ON THE SCALE before every race?!!!)
How did Elliott wind up in the horse business?
How did Elliott beat Bob Baffert out of a win for another potential Triple Crown many years ago?
How long has Mike Smith been a Christian?
Hear why Mike thinks the Lord has blessed this horse so much…
Will Justify run in more horse races?
How much longer will Mike Smith, now 52, ride?

Run, don’t walk to your nearest iPad or phone or laptop and listen up.  You’ll be so glad you did.

To God be the glory.

‘Til next time!

 

 

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Humans Go on Summer Vacation, Can Goldfish??? (Check out this new book by Sally Lloyd Jones!)

Friends! I’ve got a mini-vacation for you even if you’re not vacationing anywhere any time soon.  After this discovery, you’ll feel as if you’ve been to New York City on a summer vacation…no foolin’.

Author Sally Lloyd Jones has created an adorable children’s book which she says is a “completely true made-up story,” as parts are true, parts are amazing U.S. history, which history buffs will chew on, and the characters represent Sally’s relatives, however they live in England, not in New York City. Us adults will be charmed as well.

The book?  Goldfish on Vacation

I predict those of you anywhere close to NYC will go hunting for this fountain we’re about to learn about. I will for certain next time we visit.

Once again, I learned of this book thanks to Eric Metaxas on his radio show, www.metaxastalk.com This particular show aired 5/3/18. You don’t want to miss Sally and Eric’s banter, how this book came to be, plus her adorable accent.  (She’s the very same author who penned The Jesus Storybook Bible among many other books.)

Goldfish on Vacation opens with three children, “H, Little O, and Baby Em,” proud owners of three goldfish, “Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss.” The children go round and round in their New York City apartment just like the goldfish go round and round in their bowl. Not such a fun way to start your summer vacation.  Stuck.

At the end of the street where the children live, there’s an old, abandoned fountain which in its day was a place for horses to drink from…until cars were invented.

Because of the cars, folks no longer needed horses and the fountain became overgrown, abandoned, and a place for people to dump trash, sadly.

But, a curious thing happens. To the children’s great discovery, a sign is posted one day at the nearby Hamilton Fountain Water Garden:

“COMING IN TWO WEEKS! CALLING ALL GOLDFISH LOOKING FOR A SUMMER HOME!”

Out of the blue, a man begins cleaning up the fountain, restoring it, complete with plants such as lily pads, suitable for a LOT of goldfish to inhabit. The children’s Grandpa marks their calendar accordingly.

The fourteen days fly by and before they know what’s happening, the children can no longer see the man working on the fountain. It appears ALL the children living close by have arrived with their goldfish, swimming in their bowls, more than ready to let them have their own summer vacation.

Let me pause here to say the illustrator, Leo Espinosa, brilliantly captures the  plot of this story, offering the reader of any age to delight at the wonders on every page. (www.studioespinosa.com) You can see and feel the excitement of all the characters!

Scores of parents, grandparents, and children all become friends because of their goldfish. Fever pitch jumping up and down, in and out of the fountain ensues, and suddenly, summer’s over and school’s about to begin.

You may wonder HOW H, Little O, and Baby M get EXACTLY Barracuda, Patch and Fiss back home. Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out.  You’ll be grinning ear to ear.

If by chance you live in NYC or near, head to Riverside Drive and 76th Street. You’ll find the real-live Hamilton Fountain which is named after Robert Ray Hamilton (who lived from 1850-1890).  He gave the fountain to New York and believe it or not, he just happens to be the great-grandson of one of our founding fathers of the United Sates:  Alexander Hamilton. Don’t you history buffs just love that?

Sally tells us a man by the name of Brad, who’s a volunteer for the Riverside Park Conservancy is who cleaned up the fountain.  Bravo, Brad! Thanks also goes to someone who gave money for the fountain to be restored in 2009.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Goldfish on Vacation.

You’re welcome.

Smile.

‘Til next time!

 

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Books to Help the Grieving Process in the Death of a Loved One (with help from Nancy Guthrie, Dee Brestin and Zig Ziglar) Part 2 of 2

Friends!  Last week we learned about a children’s book about the death of a child and ways to handle such.  This week we’ll get to look at a handful of books by different authors which are equally helpful.  If you’re like me, usually at a loss for words, grasping for something, anything, I believe these authors offer a number of nuggets.

First up is author Nancy Guthrie.  She and her husband, David, lost two of their three children to Zellweger Syndrome where babies only live less than six months with no known cure. Hope was their first child, followed by Gabriel.

Unbelievably, Nancy wrote Holding on to Hope:  A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God not long after both babies went to Heaven.

Their story was first published in Time magazine on 7/16/01 in an article called, When God Hides His Face:  Can Faith Survive When Hope Has Died? The Guthries think so.

I must share three stats that will make your hair stand on end:  “The odds of carrying a recessive gene for… Zellweger Syndrome are 1 in 160. The odds of two carriers meeting and having a child who suffers from the syndrome are about 1 in 100,000.

David and Nancy, already the parents of a healthy son, Matt, drew that 1 in 100,000 chance when they had Hope, who struggled with life for 199 days. After Hope was found to have the ailment, David got a vasectomy. The odds of a woman becoming pregnant after her partner has had the procedure are roughly 1 in 2,000.”

Nancy did indeed become pregnant with Gabriel, who also had the syndrome and lived about six months. How does one cope?

I’m beyond thrilled to report Nancy and David’s faith has remained intact, and their friends from church have been “an unfailing pillar of strength.” Nancy said while pregnant with Gabriel, “If God would ask me to suffer this significantly, I think He has something significant He wants to do with it through me, if only just in my heart.”

I know what you’re thinking.  I thought it too. (Reminds me of Job.)

In Holding on to Hope, Nancy walks us thru’ parts of the Book of Job, holding our hands, digging for pearls we can cling to. She tackles these subjects with vulnerability that’ll make you weep: (At the end of the book, there’s also a section of Scriptures on each of these topics.)

Nancy and David, along with her numerous books she’s written since their children’s deaths, are a visual of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

In the chapter on Intimacy, Nancy says, “It is one thing to believe that God is faithful and will supply all your needs—even in the darkest of times. It is another thing to experience it. In the darkest of days, we’ve  experienced a supernatural strength and peace that could only come from God. Perhaps you have too.”

Nancy says her husband, David, “…always feared a tragedy would occur in his life. But …now that the tragedy has come, the fear is gone. Now that he has experienced his greatest fear, and experienced God’s supreme faithfulness to us through this difficulty, he no longer fears tragedy in our lives. We know God more fully because we’ve experienced Him more fully through our sorrow.”  Wow.

Anne Graham Lotz wrote the Foreword of Nancy’s book. She says, “Holding on to Hope is like a beacon of Light, drawing the reader to God and God alone. My prayer is that God will use this book to rescue you from the depths of being buried alive in the debris and rubble of your own life experience, …planting your foot on the solid ground of His Word, setting your spirit free to soar in the rarefied atmosphere of genuine worship.”  Wow again!

Don’t miss this little powerful book, plus here are four others of Nancy’s I especially like:

Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow

The One Year Book of Hope

What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)

This one is by David and Nancy:

When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One:  Finding Hope Together

Nancy’s also written outstanding Bible studies. (I have her newest on order:  Even Better Than Eden:  Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything About Your Story)

To see what else Nancy’s written and to learn more about her go to her website:  www.nancyguthrie.com

And if that’s not enough resources, oh yes, there’s more… (Variety is truly the spice of life.)  Two more beautiful and helpful books on dealing with grief are:

The God of All Comfort:  Finding Your Way into His Arms by Dee Brestin. Dee shares about experiencing the loss of her husband and how worship was (and is) a healing salve to her soul.

The Confessions of a Grieving Christian by Zig Ziglar.  This was a fairly recent discovery for me.  I didn’t know Zig lost an adult child.  It’s comforting to hear his honesty and see the God of hope at work.

Next week we’ll pick back up with another new children’s book which is happy and bright (after reviewing such serious material!), followed by helpful resources for reading to your child or grandchild, as well as for ourselves!

SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME.

Sigh.

‘Til next time!

 

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Books to Help the Grieving Process in the Death of a Loved One (with help from Anne Riley) Part 1 of 2

Friends!  Anyone besides me ever feel helpless when your friends lose loved ones?  Sorry to say I’m the babbling fool at visitations where the bereaved has to comfort me.

I know.

Good news!  I have a few remedies up my sleeve I’d like to share in the form of a children’s book this week, and several other books for us grown-ups next week.

John and I were blessed to have dinner with old and new friends in Lexington this past April.  We learned about a book where a family lost two of their children. I immediately thought of Nancy Guthrie in Nashville who experienced such. (We’ll talk about her books next week.)

To my surprise, Nancy was not who our friends were talking about.  Surely there’s not another family who’s also lost two of their children? Sadly, there is, and a family friend has written a beautiful children’s book to help families cope with losing a child.

The book?  Voyage to the Star Kingdom

Author Anne Riley was so moved by her friends’ story, she and her cousin, Amy Grimes (who’s also friends with the family), put this beautiful book together.  Anne wrote the story (www.annerileybooks.com ) while Amy created the beautifully charming illustrations. (www.storypaintings.net ) Anne says Amy came up with the “essential story elements” and God wove the rest of it together.

When Anne first heard of Frazer and Dana Gieselmann and their plight to fight Batten Disease, she was so moved she literally couldn’t move.  She kept praying about how or what she could do.  It was in church the Holy Spirit convinced her to use her gift of writing to tell their story.

Blessed with three beautiful daughters, Frazer and Dana were completely thrown off guard when their daughter, Milla, began having seizures in August of 2013.  By October of 2014, Milla was diagnosed with a disease that’s very rare, and so far, incurable. It attacks the brain, causing loss of sight, mental impairment, worsening seizures, and a decline in motor skills. The dreaded disease is known as Batten Disease. Milla passed away November 26, 2016, just three weeks after her 6th birthday.

Unbelievably, Batten Disease possesses a genetic nature, thus docs suggested Frazer and Dana have their other two daughters tested.  Soon afterward, they learned their youngest daughter, Elle, also has the disease. Elle began having seizures not long after the discovery. You see now why Annie felt compelled to do something. (Miraculously, their eldest daughter, Ann Carlyle, does not have the disease.)

Thanks to extensive research at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Elle is receiving new treatments, infusions, and surgeries. Their long, hard, ongoing fight is explained in detail on their blog:  www.thegieselmann5.blogspot.com

Warning:  The family’s daily battle will tear your heart out, however the book is so well done, you’ll want to share it with your friends. Huge favor:  Please pray for this precious family.

The Gieselmann’s live in Memphis, Tennessee, so upon discovering Milla was treated at Le Bonheur Hospital, I immediately reached out to a friend of our kiddos who went thru’ an excruciating ordeal, also at LeBonheur, when their baby boy only lived two months.  I told her about this book and she said her NICU nurse gave her a copy. She and her husband, like the Gieselmanns, thankfully live with an eternal perspective. (See Revelation 21:1-5)

The grandest news of these sad stories comes as a reminder from Anne: “Milla and Elle will receive their prize early. Yes, we will suffer greatly in their absence. But this life is so short compared with eternity, and one day very soon, Frazer, Dana, and Ann Carlyle will be with Milla and Elle forever.”

My other favorite aspect of this book is it speaks matter-of-factly about real-life issues.  You’ll see the family undergoing multiple storms.  Two of their three daughters have to leave their family on earth, per the request of the Star King. Anne emphasizes, “The rest of the family will follow soon, but for now, they must say a temporary farewell.”

A beautiful angelfish escorts the girls to Heaven. (Don’t miss the part where they learn about how to fight evil on their journey.) Upon their approach, they see a man coming out of the Radiant Palace, waiting for them.  “Are you the Star King?” the youngest girl asked.

He smiled and said, “I have many names: Elohim, Jehovah, the Alpha and the Omega, the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd. And yes, the Star King.

Oh, my beloved children, I am so glad you’re here.”

The story gets even better as the King shows them He’s set a table for five. You must read this book to witness something beautiful!

One hint arrives from the Angelfish: “You will be together again sooner than you think. The Star King is not bound by time.”

This is a beautiful picture of 2 Peter 3:8 in the NIV that says,

That verse reminds me of a time when I read about a young Mom who knew she was dying of cancer. She asked her pastor to verify the above Scripture, promptly proceeding to do some mind-blowing math.

She said, “I figure if a thousand years is like a day, then forty years is like an hour. I’ll be leaving my husband and children soon. He may live another forty years, but that’ll be just like an hour to me in heaven.

…My children may live another seventy or eighty years, but that’ll be like two hours to me.” Just before she died, she told her husband, “I love you. Take care of our children and I’ll see you in an hour.” (from One Month to Live:  30 Days to a No-Regrets Life by Kerry and Chris Shook.) Now that’s some sweet eternal perspective!

Soak in 2 Peter 3:8, and you will sleep well tonight. And every other night.

‘Til next time!

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